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  #1  
Old 10-24-2017, 11:12 AM
RFazio RFazio is offline
 
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Default IFR Practice Approaches

I recently got my IFR rating in my RV-6. I'm flying with a Dynon Skyview system and a Garmin 430W. I finished up my training in Kansas, at GATTS. My question is this: When I was in Kansas we flew into 4 different airports and always asked the tower for an approach. For example into KIXD I would call the tower tell him I was west of the airport at 2500 and ask for the RNAV36. He would say report UNOXY and in I went. Same for the other airports in the area. At home in NY on Long Island, the towers say they cannot give me an approach. I have to call Approach and they give me a frequency. No problem, I do it, but what is the difference between the areas? Is it because we are busier here in the north east? Where can I call towers directly, and how would I know this? How is it where you are?
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  #2  
Old 10-24-2017, 11:36 AM
Robin8er Robin8er is offline
 
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I struggle with this a lot as a CFII. I cant find any real consistency. Ive asked a few different controller and also called and talked to approach controller and they give me different answers.

This is what I've learned-

Typically approach/center always coordinates approaches into controlled airports. It will be center if the airport you are flying into does not have approach control.

You can do VFR practice approaches into uncontrolled fields without talking to center.

If you are staying at the same airport, tell ground control what you want to do. They will be much happier if you coordinate your approaches. They get pretty irritated if you request an approach, then go missed without telling them ahead of time that is what you are doing. I hear people get yelled at all the time for this, especially when its really busy.

If you are flying in a really busy place like here in Honolulu, I call approach on the phone or the ground controller on the radio and tell them what I want to do ahead of time. It works out great and they are very accommodating because they are expecting me and know exactly what I'm going to do.

Bottom line is its all about communicating your intentions. The best thing you can do is be on an IFR flight plan even if its vfr conditions, they they have to give you the active approach is you request it.

Sometimes the key words are "requesting VFR practice approach ILS 4R". It seems it works better than "requesting ILS 4R'

Hopefully this helps.
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Last edited by Robin8er : 10-24-2017 at 11:38 AM.
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  #3  
Old 10-24-2017, 11:36 AM
Electrogunner Electrogunner is offline
 
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Default IFR

I'll start with I'm not instrument rated yet so take with a grain of salt please. Wouldn't approach normally give you a approach for sequencing, you would be talking to them anyway and they would just hand you off to tower to be cleared to land? Maybe if you said you were doing a practice approach they would accommodate. But it would be up to them if they could, kind of like vfr flight following.
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  #4  
Old 10-24-2017, 01:20 PM
BobTurner BobTurner is online now
 
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Around here, east of SFO, we always call approach for practice approaches into class D. The issue is, the tower doesn’t control the airspace where the approach starts, so the best they can do is say ‘maintain vfr’. They might let you fly the approach vfr, but half the time they get an ifr inbound handed off to them, there’s not sufficient separation, and they tell you to “circle north, enter the downwind for 25R” so there goes your practice approach. Calling ATC, “...... requesting multiple practice approaches at Stockton, starting with tbe ils29R” seems to work pretty well. They’ll normally give you alternate missed approach instructions, basically a crosswind turn, to get you set up for the next approach as quickly as possible. Only once in a great while will they be so busy that they say ‘no’. But they are busy enough that they don’t like missed calls.
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  #5  
Old 10-24-2017, 01:27 PM
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Raymo Raymo is online now
 
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Also not IFR rated but had a similar experience flying into Myrtle Beach. I had never flown into a field that had approach frequencies and didn't think they would be that busy (they weren't) but when I called tower 20 miles out, they sent me to approach control who sent me back to tower as I neared the airport. Then to ground once I landed.

My home field (KLHW - Hinesville, GA) used to only use their tower frequency but has lately required me to call ground prior to take-off and after landing. I guess they just want to practice using both frequencies since the same person responds.
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  #6  
Old 10-24-2017, 02:15 PM
lr172 lr172 is offline
 
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Like the others mentioned, in busier airspace everything runs smoother and cleaner when SOPs are used. By starting the practice approaches with approach, they can weave you into existing traffic/approaches and they have the full picture. In busier areas, there are more planes doing approaches. If you just go wandering in for an approach VFR, it creates a lot of work for ATC in vectoring all of the actual approaches around you (busier airspace means more airplanes on IFR flight plan in VMC conditions). Therefore they want ALL of the approaches coordinated by them so they can manage any conflicts. It is much easier if the same group is coordinating everyone. Remember, at Kansas, the tower controller wasn't really clearing you for the approach; only confirm the he knows you are doing it. His responsibility doesn't start until you call in at UNOXY. You are responsible for staying away from other planes on that approach and approach control, not the tower, is responsible for keeping those other planes on the approach away from you. It is approach control telling the tower not to accept the practice approaches, but instead refer to them.

. It also makes things much easier if you are doing multiple approaches. They will anticipate your return and cleanly circulate you back. Also, note that in busier airspace like Chicago every approach is via vectors unless you request the full approach. I believe that this is easier for them in managing all of the traffic conflicts in these dense airspaces.

I fly in Chicago airspace and always make my requests for practice approaches of Chi Appr. I have heard other pilots make the request directly to the tower and the tower has accommodated. However, I wouldn't want to do it this way. The setup to the approach is well outside of the D airspace. While the tower controller may see the traffic out there, I don't think he can give you vectors out there, only advisories. Approach control, otoh, will actively manage traffic and vectors until you're established then hand you off. I suppose you're VFR and they don't have to provide it, but they are so used to it, that they just do it, it seems to me. I have received several urgent deviations from ATC while on practice approaches (typically Mode A aircraft). This is also much better practice, imho, as it represents what you will get when actually doing approaches in busy airspace.

Finally, in the busier areas, you usually are asked to take the approach that they are currently using. I do a lot of practice work at DPA. It is about 10 miles from ORD and when ORD is landing from the West, there is a LOT of traffic over DPA. Chicago approach coordinates with DPA on the approaches being used/offered. Several factors will determine whether they will take a request for a different approach, not the least of which is the amount of traffic currently using that approach. Even with strong winds out of the south, you often can't do an approach on 20 when ORD is landing from the West. You will have to do the ILS to 10 and circle to 20. That is pretty standard with wind out of the south and ORD landing from the west.

The active approach(es) being used are always given on the ATIS and you'll want to get used to listening to that part more actively when in busier areas.

I am not an expert. These are just my opinions and observations from doing my training in a busy airspace.

Larry
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Last edited by lr172 : 10-24-2017 at 02:34 PM.
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  #7  
Old 10-24-2017, 02:41 PM
Larco Larco is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobTurner View Post
Around here, east of SFO, we always call approach for practice approaches into class D. The issue is, the tower doesn’t control the airspace where the approach starts, so the best they can do is say ‘maintain vfr’. They might let you fly the approach vfr, but half the time they get an ifr inbound handed off to them, there’s not sufficient separation, and they tell you to “circle north, enter the downwind for 25R” so there goes your practice approach. Calling ATC, “...... requesting multiple practice approaches at Stockton, starting with tbe ils29R” seems to work pretty well. They’ll normally give you alternate missed approach instructions, basically a crosswind turn, to get you set up for the next approach as quickly as possible. Only once in a great while will they be so busy that they say ‘no’. But they are busy enough that they don’t like missed calls.
Hi Bob, Having gotten my IFR rating at KLVK many years ago, we used tower enroute clearances a lot. Do they not allow them any more? Of course Bay APP and Stockton got involved but it worked out very well as I recall. Here in AZ there is not a tower in route systems up. Wish there were.
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  #8  
Old 10-24-2017, 03:09 PM
BobTurner BobTurner is online now
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larco View Post
Hi Bob, Having gotten my IFR rating at KLVK many years ago, we used tower enroute clearances a lot. Do they not allow them any more? Of course Bay APP and Stockton got involved but it worked out very well as I recall. Here in AZ there is not a tower in route systems up. Wish there were.
In all honesty, I don’t know the answer. With iPads and cell phones it’s pretty easy to work thru DUAT or FSS before engine start, and by the time I get to the runup area the tower has my clearance. But I think the tower in route structure is gone. Part of the issue is that the Livermore hills result in departure clearances to a minimum of 5000’, which easily puts you in NorCal’s airspace. Oh, and Bay and Stockton approach were consolidated some time ago to ‘NorCal’.
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  #9  
Old 10-24-2017, 03:53 PM
aerovin aerovin is offline
 
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Tower Enroute Control is alive and well, at least for NORCAL and SOCAL. Details remain published in the Chart Supplement (green book).
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  #10  
Old 10-24-2017, 04:27 PM
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Plummit Plummit is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin8er View Post
You can do VFR practice approaches into uncontrolled fields without talking to center.
Not always, and I sure wouldn't recommend it. Here in the West, there are uncontrolled fields with with Charlie airspace either over or adjacent to the airport or part of the approach. The controllers (Approach Control) told us that they WANT us to talk with them. They like knowing where the blips on their screen are going.

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